Monday, May 7, 2012

Lemonade Day!

How cool is this?  An organization that helps kids learn to manage money and run a small business.

Lemonade Day, created by Prepared 4 Life, a Texas 501C3 organization, is a fun and experiential learning program where communities across the nation unite to teach youth how to start, own and operate their own business through a lemonade stand.   There are two distinct components of Lemonade Day.  First, there is a month-long learning experience through which a child and a caring adult exercise a step-by-step process of starting a business. This month-long process has proven to have a dramatic impact on a child’s understanding of how to be an entrepreneur in any industry. The second component is the actual implementation of the business, which takes place on Lemonade Day, held annually on the first Sunday in May. Literally, thousands of children open their stand for business with support from their community. In the six years since Lemonade Day’s inception, the program has grown in Houston from 2,700 to 54,000 youth participating and has attracted attention from city leaders across the nation.  In 2011, over 65,000 kids in 30 other U.S. cities also experienced Lemonade Day.
The foremost objective of Lemonade Day is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society – the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers, and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow.

Each child that registers for Lemonade Day receives a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook and Caring Adult Guide that teaches them the 14 lessons of Lemonade Day including how to set goals, develop a business plan, secure an investor, create a product, make a profit, and give back to the community. These aspiring entrepreneurs and their mentor are guided step by step to the keys for success. They learn that if you set a goal, make a plan, and work that plan, you can achieve your dreams. These lessons culminate on one day where youth all across the city open for business. The best part is that after covering their expenses and paying back their investor, children are encouraged to open a youth savings account and “spend a little, save a little and share a little,” by donating a portion of their profits to a local charity of their choice.
“It is important that we teach future generations the importance of responsible business practices and instill the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age – an age that allows them to have hope and vision to excel in the future,” says founder, Michael Holthouse, “Our goal is to reach kids as a critical stage in their lives – that time when they are at a crossroads between a very good or bad path.”
Lemonade Day teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business – using a lemonade stand. Through this enterprise, children will learn the entrepreneurial skills necessary to successful in the future and become contributing members of their communities. Children learn the basic principles of business in a hands-on, active way.

And I love the fact that this organization helps all kids.  A young man from Houston is participating in the Lemonade Day program to raise money for a new building for his school?  Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that he rocks an extra chromosome?

Lemonade Day teaches more than how to succeed in business

Every Friday without fail, David Rocha walks a few blocks to the neighborhood corner store and picks up a lottery ticket. Then on Sundays he flips through the real estate section of the paper.
"We can't make money fast enough," he says.
What Rocha wants to do is purchase a new building for his school. Rocha has Down Syndrome, but the 23-year-old understands that there are many more like him that need a place where they can continue learning. With the aid of friends at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston(DOAH), Rocha is raising money by putting up a stand for the Lemonade Day, set for Sunday throughout the city of Houston. 
More than a reason to make the zesty beverage, Lemonade Day offers participants a comprehensive course of study that touches on the many facets of managing a successful business like budgeting, setting goals, advertising, purchasing, costing and accounting. But just as important as making a profit is the responsibility of what to do with it.
That's the basis for Lemonade Day's three money principles: Save some, spend some and share some. As such, a group of participants, including Rocha, is taking these tenets to heart to affect change in their own communities.
A capital campaign for Down Syndrome Association of Houston
DOAH is bursting at the seams: The center is over capacity with a waiting list of more than 75.
"I am learning how to make money, count money — we have been practicing with paper money and plastic dolls."
Through a three-day per week education program, Gymboree for babies, music therapy, a summer enrichment class, bingo, socials for adults and a support system for families, the northwest Houston school serves more than 1,200 families. But that's just not enough.
A new building could expand DOAH's reach and fulfill its plan to become an immersive resource center for 250 more.
"David knows how essential his school is for his own development," Rosa Rocha, David's mother, says. "After he graduated high school, David realized he was forgetting things he had learned and mastered. People with Down Syndrome have to be challenged continuously to retain skills needed for good healthy living."
Rosa Rocha is the volunteer chair of a $2 million capital campaign for a new home for DOAH, but the idea to help fundraise came from the students.
For Krista Bearden, a 23-year-old Crosby resident receiving therapy from DOAH, it was important to support the efforts as well. "I am learning how to make money, count money — we have been practicing with paper money and plastic dolls," she says.
Food retailer Kroger has stepped up to the plate with a money challenge: The grocer will match dollar for dollar up to $3,000 of the profits made by DOAH's lemonade stands, which will be set up at 10 Kroger locations around Houston.
Florida bound: Boys and Girls Country
The counselors at Boys and Girls Country, a nonprofit children's home, apply the Lemonade Day lessons to foster financial literacy. Such knowledge, says education coordinator Kristi Avoli, is essential to help kids grow from childhood into adulthood.
"We had a big line at our stand. Even though it was a contest, we helped other kids get their stands ready. I just wanted everyone to be happy."
This year, close to 30 young residents, who are placed in the center's cottages voluntarily, will participate in Lemonade Day at Boys and Girls Country. Their ultimate goal is to garner funds to take a three-day summer beach vacation in Florida.
"We help families in crisis," Avoli explains. "Part of creating a normalized nurturing environment is also giving the kids a vacation. For our children, some who have no families and others who otherwise would live in cars, it's something they look forward to with excitement."
Miron Gelmesa, 14, thinks Lemonade Day is really cool. 
"I was really surprised to see so many people at the (Lemonade Day Best Tasting Contest)," he says. "We had a big line at our stand. Even though it was a contest, we helped other kids get their stands ready. I just wanted everyone to be happy."
News_Lemonade Day_children doing right_group
A new building could expand Down Syndrome Association of Houston's reach and fulfill its plan to become an immersive resource center for 250 more. The students are helping out by participating in Lemonade Day.
Lemonade Day Houston is on Sunday. Participating students all over the city will put up stands to earn your business. To find a specific location,click here.

Be gentle.

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